We asked Debbie Hintz, Recreation Director for the Town of Leader, how having a Fitness Leader in their community has positively influenced their recreation capacity.

In the past, what types of recreation opportuni­ties were available in Leader?

Leader, Saskatchewan is a small community of approximately 850 people that struggled to create and maintain fitness pro­grams due to a lack of available Fitness Leaders. A certified Zumba instructor lived in the community, yet her commitment to teach was limited as she was also a full-time teacher. We had a very successful Yoga program, which was great for our community, but for those who wished to have a regular fitness program that offered a cardiovascular workout, an instructor for this type of program was not available in the community.

How has the SPRA Fitness Leadership Certifi­cation Program been able to help the Town of Leader in providing more fitness programs?

In early 2015, I decided to see if anyone in our community would be interested in taking the SPRA Fitness Leadership Certification Program. I knew SPRA offered the program and I was willing to apply for funding if I could find anyone in the community who would be interested in attaining their certifica­tion. I was pleased to find two ladies who showed interest so I applied for the SPRA Leadership Development Grant. The Town of Leader received funding from SPRA to help with the costs to train two community members in the pre-requisite Exercise Theory Course, followed by the Group and Aquatic Exercise Modules. This was such good news for our commu­nity and the Recreation Department as we were finally going to have Fitness Leaders in our community!

How did available funding contribute to the reality of acquiring a new Fitness Leader?

We had to not only factor in the cost of the courses, but also costs associated with meals and accommodations. It may be difficult for people to fund this on their own, which is where the funding became crucial. Thanks to SPRA and their Leader­ship Development Grant, there is an opportunity available for communities to get people trained in their community.

How would a community’s recreation services benefit from having a certified Fitness Leader?

For any community that is thinking about getting a Fitness Leader in their community, I highly recommend it. In our community, we now have a Fitness Leader who teaches an exercise program for the Recreation Department twice a week and has taken further training to include Forever…in motion and aquatic exercise. This summer she taught aqua fit in the pool. Often small communities such as ours are limited to the amount of programs we can provide but having a Fitness Leader in our community gives us the opportunity to offer an assortment of fitness classes for the whole community to enjoy.

For more information on SPRA Fitness Leader certification go to